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Funeral Service Education

Funeral Service Education

Associate in Applied Science Degree (FP)

Associate in Applied Science in Funeral Service Education is a 66-credit-hour program that prepares students for entry-level employment in funeral homes.

The American Board of Funeral Service Education Committee on Accreditation has granted candidacy status to the Funeral Service Education (FSE) program which is a revised 66-credit-hour curriculum leading to the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree.

In April 2015, representatives of the Funeral Service Education program are expected to appear again for initial accreditation. During this time, all students who successfully complete the program will be considered graduates of an ABSFE accredited program that is required for licensure in most states.

CAUTION: Students applying for admission to the funeral service program at St. Louis Community College should contact their respective state boards of funeral service regarding that state board's approval of this particular program of instruction.

For additional information, please email David Coughran, M.A.T., Funeral Service Education Program Director.

Students gain practical experience in the various techniques of embalming through the use of modern facilities at local funeral homes as well as in the classroom.

Program Objectives

  • At the completion of the Funeral Service Program, it is expected that graduates will:
  • Function as competent funeral directors/embalmers as defined by nationally accepted standards.
  • Explain how the treatment, handling and disposition of the dead human body, the sociological, psychological, theological, physical and legal needs of the family and the community are fulfilled.
  • Have a complete and thorough knowledge of the state and federal laws regulating funeral service practice.
  • Demonstrate proficiency by successful completion of both national and state licensing examinations.
  • Be able to provide varieties of funeralization as seen in major religious and ethnic subcultures, fraternal and military groups in the United States.
  • Be able to counsel families about funerals prior to a death, during the time of the funeral and continue to assist as long as needed.
  • Be able to develop professional relationships both within and outside the funeral service community. They must take an active role in the communities in which they reside, not only to provide service, but also be present as a community resource individual.
  • Act in a professional manner and constantly be aware of their role as guardians of public health and those measures of safety which must be followed when dealing with human remains.
  • Recognize the high standards of ethical conduct which must be adhered to in order to promote the dignity of funeral service.
  • Encourage student and faculty research in the field of funeral service. 
  • Take an active role in promoting and attending continuing education programs offered in the profession.

Persons interested in funeral service education should possess emotional stability, the desire to serve others and be in good physical health to withstand the irregular working hours and stresses of the job. Good grooming habits also are important. In most states, graduates are required to work as interns under the supervision of a licensed funeral director or embalmer for a specified period of time.

Prerequisites: Prior to applying for admission to the Funeral Service Education program, the student must complete a minimum of 40 hours of documented job shadowing which has been completed and verified under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director and embalmer, and which must also occur in two unaffiliated and licensed funeral service establishments. In addition, the student is required to meet with the program director and/or other Funeral Service Education faculty for a personal interview.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of embalmers is expected to grow at an average rate through 2019. In 2014, 10,500 people were employed in the funeral service field in the surrounding area and the most popular form of education was a postsecondary vocational award.